Brief guide to contributing

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You can contribute to the wiki by creating an account. Our site uses MediaWiki, the wiki software underlying Wikipedia and many other sites, so it should be easy find instructions and technical support online.

One way to get started is to browse the site, fix mistakes, and fill in gaps. Alternatively, you can go to the Special Pages to find categories of pages that might need help, like broken links, or orphaned pages. If you create a new page, make sure to add it to one of the lists and/or timelines on the front page, so that people can find it.

For an excellent resource on where references to various characters, spells, objects, etc. are located in the book, take a look at the JS&MN Lists Google Doc (further details at this site).

Finally, keep in mind that between 2008 and 2018, we had a different host and wiki software. The migration to our current set up in 2018 was highly imperfect, and lots of things around the site are broken. So please excuse the dust, and feel free to help clean up!

For editors used to the old wiki software, here are some key differences in how the new wiki editor works:

  • It is no longer necessary to manually create Tables of Contents if there are more than three headings on a page. MediaWiki does that automatically. Duplicate TOCs should be deleted. If you think a page still needs a TOC even if has less than three headings, just put __TOC__ where the TOC needs to be.
  • For interwiki links, CASE MATTERS. Be sure to capitalize the name of the page correctly. Broken links around the site are most likely broken due to incorrect capitalization.

Style guide

Here is an unorganized list of style points:

  • The focus of our site will remain on the book (and related writings) of Susanna Clarke, but references to the BBC series are welcome if clearly marked as such. This can be accomplished, for instance, by starting a new section on a page, but shorter additions referencing the series are acceptable as well.
  • Cite chapters from the main text (JS&MrN) with "[x]", where x is the chapter. This chapter number should appear inside the period, but outside of any quotation marks; for example: "quotation from text" [x]. For other sources, like short stories, use the acronym of the title, like "[LoGA]" for "The Ladies of Grace Adieu". (By the way, it seems, on the whole, acceptable to include LoGA as a valid source for information for this wiki.)
  • Write as if the fiction was real history. The assumed time frame is the end of JS&MrN, e.g. Honeyfoot was a magician, while Norrell is. In some instances, it's okay to assume that a little time has passed (e.g. so that we can refer to Segundus' The Life of Jonathan Strange, which was published 3 years after the last chapter's events. However, I don't want to say that we should always write from that perspective, because then everything would be speculative. (We'd have to say, we think Norrell is still alive, or we suspect magic is still thriving, etc. In those cases, just assume whatever was true at the end of JS&MrN is still true.)
  • Use as many interwiki links as possible. If you put a link, you can get away with only explaining the subject very briefly. Do not repeat the wikilink in the article, unless you start a new section.
  • Try to direct all links to the "official" page, i.e. "John Segundus" rather than "Mr Segundus", "Segundus" or any other alias. Redirects are possible, but they can only be made by Organizers, so it's impratical. If you think there is a good reason for a particular redirect, post a message in the discussion board, and we'll consider it. (For example, "Raven King" redirects to "John Uskglass", because the former is as common if not more so.)
  • When making an interwiki link, case matters. Ensure that the link is capitalized in the same way as the name of the page, otherwise the link will be broken (e.g. Book of Magic works while book of magic does not).
  • Write in an encylopedic manner, like Wikipedia.
  • Page names should have all proper nouns capitalised, as well as the first word. Other words should not be captialised, e.g. "The stones of York".
  • The name of a page should be its proper name, without any titles or unnecessary words. Some examples: "Arthur Wellesley" (not "His Grace Arthur Wellesley", "Duke Wellesley", or anything else), "Honeyfoot" (not "Mr Honeyfoot"), and even just "Raven King" (instead of "The Raven King"). If the "The" or whatever is actually part of the title, like "The Friends of English Magic", then keep it in.
  • Try to place all new articles in one of the lists right away, so we don't lose track of it.
  • Don't title your pages in the body (since they are already titled in the page name), just start the article. However, you should boldface the first mention of the subject of the article.
  • Sections should be of the "==" type, and should have a horizontal line "----" immediately after, followed by the text immediately after (no new lines). See, e.g., John Segundus.
  • For a longer article, the first untitled section should contain a brief summary, and the subsequent titled sections should reiterate in detail.
  • If the subject of the article is real, then add a the bottom something like this: "The Cathedral also has a Wikipedia article, although it's involvement in English Magic is inexplicably left out."

Bottom line:

  • Abbreviated honorifics should not include punctuation, in keeping with the style of the book (e.g. Mr Segundus and not Mr. Segundus).
  • Generally follow the Wikipedia guidelines, except where the conflict with the ones we've explicitly mentioned.
  • However, this is not Wikipedia, so feel free to be more artistic.

If you have suggestions for more style points, either post them in the discussion page, or just add them (and we can discuss it later if necessary).